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juarez cartel

DEA Map of Juarez Cartel operations

(This is DEA Background Information - 2/97)

Mexico's most powerful drug trafficker in recent years was Amado Carrillo-Fuentes who died in a Mexican hospital in July 1997 after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to change his appearance. In his final days Carrillo was being tracked intensively by Mexican and US authorities. Carrillo allegedly had ties to Mexico's former Commissioner of the INCD (National Institute to Combat Drugs), Gutierrez-Rebollo. His organized crime group, based in Juarez, is associated with the Rodriguez-Orejuela organization and the Ochoa brothers, from Medellin. Carrillo's organization is involved in heroin and marijuana trafficking and handles large cocaine shipments from Colombia. Their regional bases in Guadalajara, Hermosillo and Torreon serve as storage locations where later the drugs are moved closer to the border for eventual shipment into the United States.

The scope of the Carrillo-Fuentes'network is staggering; he reportedly forwarded $20-30 million to Colombia for each major operation, and his illegal activities generated tens of millions per week. He was a pioneer in the use of large aircraft to transport cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and became known as 'Lord of the Skies.' Carrillo-Fuentes owned a fleet of aircraft and had major real estate holdings.

Like his Colombian counterparts, Carrillo-Fuentes was sophisticated in the use of technology and counter surveillance methods. His network employed state of the art communications devices to conduct business. His organization had become so powerful he was even seeking to expand his markets into traditional Colombian strongholds on the east coast of the United States.